Lauderdale County has become the latest in the state to institute a court specifically to deal with drug crimes. The new drug court will be introduced to the public next week.
Drug and alcohol abuse are often the underlying reasons behind why many crimes are committed, and this court hopes to deal with that issue.
It will be presided over by County Court Judge Vel Young, who has been appointed a special circuit court judge by senior 10th Circuit Judge Robert Bailey.
"It is a 3-year program where they enter the program very much like probation. However, the first step in front of the court is that they will do what is called a non-adjudicated plea," said Young. "They'll plead guilty but their adjudication will be withheld . At that time they will enter the drug court and if they successfully complete the 3-year program within the court then the conviction will not appear on their record."
The first participant entered the drug court system last week. It's expected to be able to accommodate about 75 people at one time.